A New Start for the Heart

The UP Health System Heart Center continues to lead the way in expanding the depth of services Upper Peninsula residents can access close to home.

UP Health System – Marquette recently joined the elite ranks of heart centers in the US that perform the  Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) procedure – used on patients who are deemed too weak or frail for open heart surgery.

Kenny Anderson, 85, of White Pine, was among the first to undergo the TAVR procedure at UPHS – Marquette.  Diagnosed with “severe aortal stenosis,” Kenny had undergone triple bypass surgery in 2004. Most recently, his main heart valve had become “stenosed,” or tight, which resulted in a loss of blood flow throughout his body.

“I was weak and had trouble breathing when I lay down,” Kenny recalls. “I was told I needed heart valve replacement. But because of my age and previous surgery, the doctors recommended that I should go with TAVR.”

VAVR is a minimally invasive surgery that repairs the heart valve without removing the original, damaged valve. It calls for wedging a replacement valve in the aortic valve’s place. Similar to a stent, the TAVR procedure delivers the replacement valve to the valve site through a catheter.

The UPHS – Marquette Heart Center TAVR physician team consists for interventional radiologists Dr. Kristofer Dosh and Dr. David Pesola, and open heart surgeon Dr. Michael Frank. At UPHS – Marquette, to maximize safety and surgical expertise the procedure is always performed using a team comprised of an interventional radiologist and open heart surgeon.  In addition specialized training for physicians, UPHS support staff underwent in-depth training prior to TAVR being introduced at the UP’s regional medical center.

Dr. Dosh and Dr. Frank performed Kenny’s procedure in November.  Today, he is recovered and grateful for his restored health.

“I had very little pain after the surgery,” he recalls. “What wonderful doctors, I tell ya.”

His breathing difficulties have dissipated entirely. Kenny and his wife, Barbara, are back to enjoying retirement at their long-time White Pine home.

“I feel real good,” says Kenny. “I can’t believe how I feel. Before the surgery I couldn’t lay down without becoming real short on air. Now I feel great.  It’s unbelievable what’s they’ve done for me. They gave me many more years.”

For more information about Heart & Vascular services, visit our page here, or call (906) 449-3440.